by MICHAEL OTTO
AUCKLAND — An attempt to disaffiliate a pro-life club from the Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) has failed by a considerable margin.
In a students’ association special general meeting on July 18, a motion to disaffiliate ProLife Auckland was defeated by 227 – 125.
The motion came about after one complaint against a pamphlet distributed by ProLife Auckland in May setting out some of the health risks of abortion, citing research in learned journals.
Opponents alleged the pamphlet contained harmful misinformation that could endanger women’s health.
Speakers at the meeting were allowed three minutes each.
ProLife club supporters argued for the right to freedom of expression and questioned whether the AUSA had followed due process and natural justice in calling the meeting. They also said ProLife Auckland was helping women to have access to a wider range of information about abortion risks so they could make a more fully informed choice.
ProLife Auckland president Amy Blowers, who wrote the pamphlet, said she stood by her research.
Speakers who favoured disaffiliation claimed this move wouldn’t stop ProLife Auckland from spreading its message on campus.
Rather, disaffiliation would simply declare the AUSA wanted no association with ProLife Auckland. It would also prevent the club from applying for AUSA funding, being part of the official orientation week, and having AUSA provide bank account and other facilities.
Other arguments cited for disaffiliation were that ProLife Auckland’s pamphlet could cause students to mistrust the medical profession and that no New Zealand research was cited in the pamphlet.
The latter claim was refuted by Miss Blowers who pointed to the cited work of Professor David Fergusson of the University of Otago, which linked abortion and mental health issues in some women.
Miss Blowers said disaffiliation would amount to unwarranted discrimination against her club because of the beliefs of its members.
A commenter on the ProLife NZ blog after the meeting claimed the meeting had been stacked with nearly “every single religious group on campus”.
by MICHAEL OTTO